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An Exercise Plan You Can Afford: Running Tips for Beginners

Lately it seems like I'm literally dodging joggers on my walk to the subway. As the weather gets nicer, runners are hitting the streets here in New York, their headphone-wearing heads bobbing between suits and dresses. There are tons of them. Why do you think that is? Is it because jogging outdoors is affordable? Accessible?


Well, running organizations across the country are promoting just that by celebrating National Running Day today, June 1st. The celebration will take place from coast to coast. Visit RunningDay.org to find events in your area and to network with fellow runners. Not a runner? It's easy to get started. Here are some simple tips and guidelines.

Tips From RunningDay.org:

Think positively. Don't be discouraged. If you can get through the first several weeks of training, you will find that what seems like a big effort at the start will soon feel natural and easy to you. Within a few weeks, you will experience the pure joy of running down the street or along a park path.

Buy quality gear. The only equipment you will need is comfortable exercise clothes and good running shoes. Go to a running specialty store and get advice about the right shoes for you. You can get good running shoes for $80-120.

Train with a plan. Choose a running/walking course that is readily accessible to you. During your first two training weeks, try to run two or three times per week, on alternate days. When you feel ready, increase to four days a week, then five days. The idea is to build up gradually. Even top competitive runners take days off regularly to rest and avoid injury. Stretch your muscles on both your running and non-running days.

It's okay to walk. Begin your first workouts with 15 minutes of alternating walking and jogging: Walk for five minutes, then run easily for two or three minutes; repeat. If you are comfortable jogging from the start, that's fine, but do not run the entire time even if you think you can. Don't worry about the distance you cover. On your third or fourth workout, try increasing your time to 20 minutes. After three or four more workouts, move to 25 minutes, then after another three or four workouts, try a 30-minute continuous run. Don't force yourself to go farther or faster than what feels comfortable to you. The idea is to keep running regularly, and you're more likely to do that if you're enjoying yourself and looking forward to your next run.

Run at "conversation" pace. If you can't chat with your running companions, you are going too fast. If you are running alone, try singing to yourself, out loud, to make sure your effort and breathing are under control. If you can't sing, slow down.

These tips originally appeared on HealthyWomen in 2009. For more tips and information, click here or visit RunningDay.org.

Get more ideas on Staying Fit Without Breaking the Budget and Exercising Outdoors.

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